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Could one replace, whitout changing in meaning, "my friend gave it to me" with "I got it off my friend"?

Searching on Internet I came across several instances of "I got it off my chest", but, alas, I found practically no notable hits for "got it off [my](a person)".

Does this mean that "I got it off my chest" is idiomatic English, so we cannot extend "got it off" to person cases? What does it happen if one uses "from" rather than "off" in "I got it off my friend"?

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To get something off your chest is an idiom. It basically means "talk about something that is upsetting you".

As for I got it off my friend --- in the UK at least people will understand this (and use it themselves), but it is informal and is not really proper English. In an informal spoken setting you could happily use it, but I wouldn't use it when writing.

  • I think the phrase is more common with taking an idea or design from another source and integrating it into your own, such as "I got the image off a website", or "he got the idea off a movie". – Trish Rempel Mar 13 '13 at 18:06
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    One might also say "I got it off (Amazon|eBay|the internet)". Interestingly enough, I've often heard "off the internet" and "online" combined to an unexpected "I got it offline". – yoozer8 Mar 13 '13 at 18:06
  • @Jim and now "I got it offline" has turned into a strange idiomatic phrase in business meetings when someone says "do you want to take this offline" to mean, "do you want to talk about this more in-depth after the meeting, with fewer people?" – Trish Rempel Mar 13 '13 at 18:08
  • @TrishRempel is correct --- its definitely a phrase you'd associate with taking something, but it has made its way into common (spoken) usage (at least it has in the UK). – FakeDIY Mar 13 '13 at 18:08
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    I can attest to US usage at least in the Northeast. As Kristina Lopez mentions, it might imply theft, but not very strongly in my experience. I can also attest to it being used in the context of physical objects (candy, toys, guns, money) – horatio Mar 13 '13 at 18:25
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"Got it off my friend", from my region (or maybe era), can mean that you stole it from your friend. "I got it from my friend" or "My friend gave it to me" are the clearer choices.

For what it's worth, the difference between the two is that "My friend gave it to me" implies it is now yours. "I got it from my friend" could mean that they loaned it to you.

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    @Carlo_R., How could I refuse such a gracious invitation? :-) – Kristina Lopez Mar 13 '13 at 18:41
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    You can use it in other contexts - in "I got it off eBay" for example, you probably paid for it (it wasn't a gift or a loan, and you didn't steal it). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 13 '13 at 19:06
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    @FumbleFingers, true, and some of the comments mentioned examples of this as well, "off of the internet", etc. It's good to add other examples of "getting it off" for comparison. My answer is narrowly defined as getting it "off" a person, based on the OP's example. – Kristina Lopez Mar 13 '13 at 19:12
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    @FumbleFingers, true again, but my knowledge of "got it off John" usually implies I stole it from him. I would not use "got it off John" if I paid for it - again, from my perspective (middle-aged midwestern US). :-) – Kristina Lopez Mar 13 '13 at 19:26
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    In my youth (50s-60s) and region (East Alabama) get it offa (or offen, both = 'off of') had no larcenous implication. It embraced gift, purchase, loan or theft. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 13 '13 at 23:11
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No, not without changing the meaning. When you say "I got it off my friend," we know that the item came from your friend, but it is ambiguous whether or not you took it with your friend's permission.

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